The Future of Global Economic History. Regional Comparisons to Address Global Questions


  • Pim De Zwart Wageningen University



economic history, globalization, regions


Economic history deals with the process of economic development across the globe in the long-run. In this essay, I put forth ideas about what economic historians should be doing in the next 10 years in terms of content, methodology and the scale of analysis. In terms of content, I suggest that prospective research questions should generate what I consider ‘useful knowledge’ and provide two example topics: inequality and globalization. Regarding methodology I argue in favour of the comparative (quantitative) method in order to analyse processes of change in a variety of contexts. The scale of analysis should refocus from the country to the regional level in order to be better able to tease out relevant relationships in a comparative analysis.


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Author Biography

  • Pim De Zwart, Wageningen University

    Pim de Zwart (1986) is Assistant Professor at the Rural and Environmental History Group of Wageningen University. He obtained his PhD in economic history from Utrecht University in 2015 (cum laude). In 2017, he received a NWO Veni research grant for the project “Unfair Trade: Globalization, Institutions and Inequality in Southeast Asia , 1830-1940”. He recent publications include the book The Origins of Globalization: World Trade in the Making of the Global Economy, 1500-1800, with Jan Luiten van Zanden (Cambridge 2018).






Debate Article

How to Cite

The Future of Global Economic History. Regional Comparisons to Address Global Questions. (2018). TSEG - The Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History, 15(2-3), 129-142.